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Native English speakers, could you please help me with these issues?

1. Do these sentences make sense:

a) "He NAILED his eyes on the street."

b) "Rivers of foamy steaming beer flooded the hot asphalt and the wreckage of the crash looked like rocks in a golden STREAM."

2. In case, the second sentence makes sense, what is a 'golden stream'?)

Note: These sentences were not written by me, and the reason I'm asking this is because I can't understand them.

1 Answer

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  • Craig
    Lv 6
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    "Nailed" (or more commonly, "rivetted") is a colloquialism indicating that something has been deliberately fixed onto a certain area or objective, and is unwavering.  "Nailed" is also used in another, unrelated sense to indicate that a target has been squarely hit ("dead-center") - or a goal has been achieved - on the first attempt.  Ex. "The audience's attention was rivetted on the curtain as the theater grew quiet."  "The mother busied herself with dinner-preparation, but her attention remained nailed to the door upstairs, behind which her ailing children fitfully slept."  Or, in the other sense, ex. "The counter-fire battery nailed the enemy's long-range guns as soon as they opened fire."  (You couldn't use "rivetted" in this sense.)

    In the second sentence I take it your confusion stems only from the use of the word "stream".  You're perhaps used to this word being used as a verb for the process of simultaneously receiving and playing video or audio files.  If that's so, you might imagine "golden stream" as a reference to some special data-handling trick that you've never heard of.  That's not the case at all.

    The verb to stream or the act of streaming both come from the original sense of this word, which was a noun - and that is how the author is using it here.  A stream (n.) used to only refer to a band of flowing water, including small rivers, creeks, canals, runs, etc.  It isn't used for large rivers (except sometimes in poetry).  Typically it connotes a flow between a meter and twenty meters across.  It often connotes an association with fish and a measure of tranquility.  (You won't often see "stream" used to describe water violently crashing over a succession of falls and boulders.  Perhaps tumbling past or over rocks and logs, but not crashing headlong into them.)  This is exactly what the author is invoking - a small creek pouring around small obstacles, bubbling and churning...except that the beer is golden in color, making it a golden stream.

    Data handling borrowed the word "stream" from poets, authors, and cartographers to describe the way data moves through communications channels in packets, one immediately following another.  That flows along wires and fibers like a "data stream" much like water flows in a stream (n.).  The verb "to stream" in today's sense simply grew from the "data stream" image.

    To round this discussion out, I should mention that air is sometimes said flow like a stream, and THAT led to earlier uses of "stream" as a verb, long before data handling was thought of.  Ex. "In the pearlescent light before dawn, the castle's highest pennant streamed in the earliest of breezes."

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